"Some examples will be lower marketing costs (shareholders will talk up their product), lower insurance premiums (members will not sue their ski area) and sweat equity shares issued in exchange for labor."
I'm sorry but I had to kind of laugh at this. Shareholders may initially talk up their area but it will fade fast. Like all other membership organizations (country clubs, for example), clubs are hurting for members and marketing, if anything, has stepped up for those organizations. Second, members not suing their ski areas? Ha! Don't bet on that and your insurance company likely won't either. I lived in a gated community with a small HOA (34 residences) and one of the members was driving into the area with her car through exit gate. As she was driving in, the gate began to close and hit her brand new car. She sued the HOA in spite of the Association By-Laws that indemnified the Association from any suits filed by owners. Nothing stops people from suing and to believe that share ownership will somehow halt it, don't bet on it. Lastly, sweat-equity shares might work for some and work for awhile but that, like the member self-promotion of marketing, will likely fade rather quickly. Maybe not but I wouldn't plan on it for the pro-forma of the business plan.
I wish you luck but couldn't pass up on the comment I quoted. I think you're in for a challenging time but I think it would be cool if you're successful. It could be a new model for ski areas and other enterprises, for that matter but I don't see the concept as being that new. As mentioned, country clubs have been around forever and are now suffering like never before. Timing seems suspect for this bold, new adventure.
By the way, some great photos! The terrain looks really nice!
Edited by GoldMember - 8/27/12 at 4:22pm